Nobody knows better than Cameron Smith what it takes to be successful at this time of the year.
The Storm captain is preparing to lead his side into the 14th finals series of his 16-year illustrious career.
Smith has won 64 per cent of the finals games he has played, a mind boggling number, so it is fair to say he understands what a player and his team need to focus on over the next month.
It is no secret that this week will throw up its fair share of potential distractions for Smith, as the rugby league world showers him with deserving praise as he prepares to become the NRL games record holder in Saturday’s Qualifying Final against Parramatta at AAMI Park.
While he appreciates the compliments, it will ultimately all be white noise for the 34-year-old.
“We’ve put a lot of hard work in to get ourselves into a good position, a home final and minor premiers,” Smith said.
“To sit back and be selfish and think about a record, to see that as having more importance than playing well and getting a victory, that would be quite selfish.
“My focus is really on performing well for the team this week and making sure the team prepares well for the first week of the finals.”
Melbourne secured 20 wins during the home and away campaign – the second most successful season in the Club’s history alongside 2006.
It is an achievement this 2017 Storm side can and should be proud of.
However they know they have an entire off-season to pat themselves on the back because right now it means very little.
“Our win-loss ratio is not going to help us now, it is a new competition,” Smith said.
“Whoever plays the best football over the next four weeks will win the premiership, there is no doubt about that. I’ve learned that from experienced, both winning and losing.
“Over the last few seasons this is probably the most consistent side we’ve had.
“From the oldest to the youngest, back to 17, everyone has played extremely well this year and done their part to get us to where we are.
“All that matters now is how we perform this weekend and making sure that we go out and give ourselves every chance of getting a victory.”
Storm take on the Eels in the Qualifying Final at AAMI Park this Saturday afternoon at 4.10pm.